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Diabetes Care. 1999 Mar;22(3):503-7.

Natural history of diabetic gastroparesis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia.



The major aim of this study was to evaluate the prognosis of diabetic gastroparesis.


Between 1984 and 1989, 86 outpatients with diabetes (66 type 1, 20 type 2; 40 male, 46 female) underwent assessment of solid and liquid gastric emptying and esophageal transit (by scintigraphy), gastrointestinal symptoms (by questionnaire), autonomic nerve function (by cardiovascular reflex tests), and glycemic control (by HbAlc and blood glucose concentrations during gastric emptying measurement). These patients were followed up in 1998.


Of the 86 patients, solid gastric emptying (percentage of retention at 100 min) was delayed in 48 (56%) patients and liquid emptying (50% emptying time) was delayed in 24 (28%) patients. At follow-up in 1998, 62 patients were known to be alive, 21 had died, and 3 were lost to follow-up. In the group who had died, duration of diabetes (P = 0.048), score for autonomic neuropathy (P = 0.046), and esophageal transit (P = 0.032) were greater than in those patients who were alive, but there were no differences in gastric emptying between the two groups. Of the 83 patients who could be followed up, 32 of the 45 patients (71%) with delayed solid emptying and 18 of the 24 patients (75%) with delay in liquid emptying were alive. After adjustment for the effects of other factors that showed a relationship with the risk of dying, there was no significant relationship between either gastric emptying or esophageal transit and death.


In this relatively large cohort of outpatients with diabetes, there was no evidence that gastroparesis was associated with a poor prognosis.

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